Murphy may ride Wonderful Tonight in King George

Champion jockey Oisin Murphy could team up with Wonderful Tonight for the first time in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes if conditions are suitable at Ascot.

David Menuisier’s stable star was ridden by William Buick on her successful seasonal bow in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and when claiming the second of two Group One wins to date in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes last autumn.

However, Buick will be aboard Charlie Appleby’s Derby hero Adayar for retained owner Godolphin on Saturday, leaving Murphy to take the reins on Wonderful Tonight – if she lines up.

The ground at Ascot is currently good to firm, good in places, with possible thunderstorms later in the week.

Menuisier said: “Oisin is a top jockey, and we think he is the best possible replacement for William, if she runs.

“It’s one of those things – in summer, heat can be followed by thunderstorms, so it’s not by any means delusional to think we might get some rain. We just want to have the options open.

“I’ll have a chat with Chris (Wright, owner) before declarations on Thursday morning, and we will make a decision then. She is a different horse this season – she’s stronger and she might handle better ground, although you cannot guarantee that.

“What we don’t want to do is have a hard race on good ground at this stage of the season and put her off.”

Wonderful Tonight is entered in both the Qatar Nassau Stakes over 10 furlongs and the 14-furlong Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood next week, so Menuisier has alternative engagements.

He added: “If the ground is not right at Ascot, and the forecast for next week at Goodwood is better, we will have to make a decision.

“I don’t feel as much pressure to run because there are other options next week, and I think I would favour the Lillie Langtry for her, if we were to go to Goodwood.”

Love and Adayar top nine hunting King George honours

Superstar filly Love and Derby hero Adayar are among nine confirmations for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot.

A dual Classic winner last season having left her rivals trailing in her wake in both the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Oaks at Epsom, Aidan O’Brien’s Love made a successful return from 10 months off the track in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

O’Brien has also left in Broome, Japan and Mogul as he goes in search of a fifth King George success following the previous triumphs of Galileo (2001), Dylan Thomas (2007), Duke Of Marmalade (2008) and Highland Reel (2016), but Love is very much his chief hope.

Adam Kirby and Adayar winning the Cazoo Derby at Epsom
Adam Kirby and Adayar winning the Cazoo Derby at Epsom (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

With Coronation Cup winner Pyledriver taken out after suffering a setback, Love’s biggest threat appears to be the Charlie Appleby-trained Adayar, who was a brilliant winner of the Derby at Epsom in early June.

That form has been well advertised since by his stablemate Hurricane Lane, who was third in the premier Classic and has subsequently won both the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris.

Love will have to concede 8lb to Adayar due to the weight-for-age allowance.

Martyn Meade is set to saddle the narrow Irish Derby runner-up Lone Eagle, while the William Haggas-trained Addeybb and John and Thady Gosden’s Mishriff could renew rivalry after finishing second and third behind St Mark’s Basilica in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

Connections of Mishriff are hoping he can improve from what was his first run since adding to his Saudi Cup success in February with victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in March.

Ted Voute, racing manager to owner Prince Faisal, said: “I talked to John after Mishriff worked on Saturday and he was very happy with him. It has very much been left up to John where he runs next and, having discussed it with the Prince, Ascot looks the likely target.

“I thought Mishriff was a bit gassy at Sandown in the first half of the race, which happens to a lot of horses after some time off, and I just wondered whether he needed a race under his belt to get him spot-on. He seemed to run very well backing up from Saudi to Dubai.

“St Mark’s Basilica is clearly a very good horse and I think it is going to take a very good horse to beat Love on Saturday.

“We want to win a Group One in England with Mishriff and you can’t win one unless you run in them. He has beaten some very good horses from around the world and now is the time to see what he can do against the big battalions from England and Ireland in particular.”

The potential field is completed by David Menuisier’s stable star Wonderful Tonight, who enjoyed successive Group One wins last autumn and looked as good as ever when making a winning start to the current campaign in the Hardwicke Stakes at the Royal meeting last month.

Setback scuppers Pyledriver’s King George challenge

Pyledriver has been ruled out of Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot.

Trained by William Muir and Chris Grassick, the four-year-old landed the Coronation Cup at Epsom last time out.

He had been among the leading fancies for the midsummer showpiece, but a minor setback will prevent him from lining up.

Muir said: “We did exactly the same as before the Coronation Cup – we went over to Charlie’s (Hills) gallops, and Martin (Dwyer) rode him – he was delighted with him, he went magnificently. It was not a hard piece of work, but the way he came through it was fantastic. I walked off the gallops thinking, ‘It will take a good horse to stop this’.

Martin Dwyer and Pyledriver after the Coronation Cup
Martin Dwyer and Pyledriver after the Coronation Cup (Mike Egerton/Jockey Club)

“I walked across to meet him coming across the road – he was bouncing and bobbing and kicking. I thought then this horse has never been better, I couldn’t have him better.

“He was washed down, put in the box, he had a roll, everything was fine. He never took a funny step anywhere, then in the evening my head girl rang me, I was at Newbury races, and said, ‘Pyledriver is just not quite right on his off hind’.

“My vet came out while I was still at Newbury, and he felt that he was sore up in the groin area and we were thinking could he have pulled his groin?

“The vet then came out again on Sunday morning, and there is obviously pain there.

“We are hoping it is a groin injury, but we are going to make sure we don’t leave any stone unturned. So we will X-ray his tibia – if there is nothing there, we will scan his pelvis. I don’t think it is (that), but it will put my mind at rest. Then we can go from there and will know it is soft tissue.

“You can’t have any setback to win a Group One – in fact, forget Pyledriver, if there is any setback, even if it is the lowest-rated horse in the yard, I won’t run the horse if there is any doubt in my mind.”

Muir will not rush his stable star back into action – and although next month’s Juddmonte International at York is an option, races further afield could also be in connections’ sights.

William Muir trains Pyledriver with Chris Grassick
William Muir trains Pyledriver with Chris Grassick (Edward Whitaker/PA)

He said: “I am not going to put the horse under pressure. If it is something simple, and we will know in three days, we will wait and go to the Juddmonte International.

“If it is something that we need to give him four to five weeks, then he will have his break and go to some of those races at the end of season – (the Arc, Breeders’ Cup, Japan Cup), there are so many options.

“The worst thing is if you don’t take notice of what you’ve got now, then all of a sudden you’ve got a serious problem. I can’t take any chances with any horse. I am always cautious, more than anything else. It is very slight, and he has never taken a lame step in his life. I am gutted to be honest.”

Muir was convinced Pyledriver would have had an excellent chance to topple the likes of multiple Group One winner Love and Derby hero Adayar at the weekend, but he is already eyeing a 2022 challenge instead now.

He added: “I thought he’d win it, to be honest, I really did. I know they are great horses – the Derby winner is a very good horse, probably one of the best; I am not even going to be part of it any more, it is tough.

“I have never been so excited about a race, Saturday morning, I was doing somersaults coming off the gallops. That evening it was just a strain driving back from Newbury. Have I slept since? Not really.

“It looks a fantastic race. Love is a great filly. The Derby winner was mightily impressive, but the ground is going to be different to Epsom – the ground wouldn’t have worried me.

“We have had a great run with him, not just this year – as a two-year-old, three-year-old and now. We will return. He will stay in training next year – we can go back for the King George next year!”

Lone Eagle enters King George reckoning

Lone Eagle is set to take on the cream of all-aged top middle-distance performers in this month’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes, after connections ruled out a trip to France.

Trainer Martyn Meade has decided to wait for Ascot’s mile-and-a-half showpiece and not take his Irish Derby runner-up to France for the Grand Prix de Paris at ParisLongchamp on Wednesday.

“He’s going for the King George. Everything’s been perfect since the Irish Derby,” said Meade.

“Obviously it’s a huge ask going there. It was a toss-up of going there or to France, and we decided we’d stay on home territory and take on the big guns at Ascot.”

Meade is making plans too for his unbeaten juvenile Detail, having bypassed the July Stakes at Newmarket.

The Wiltshire trainer felt that Group Two came too soon – but he rates the son of Dabirsim quite highly following his eye-catching debut win at Newmarket win last month.

Detail overcame a slow start and greenness to get the better of Maybury by a neck, and Meade is considering a Listed contest over six furlongs next.

“I was thinking of running him in the July Stakes on Thursday but I didn’t because I thought maybe it was a step too far for him at this stage,” said the Manton handler.

“We’ll try to find a Listed race for him somewhere and run him back quite quickly. It didn’t take a lot out of him.

“He was quite impressive on the basis he fell out of the stalls, and you would have written him off. He’s still quite green, so I think that will bring him on, and he’s a nice prospect.”

Pyledriver primed for King George bid

William Muir is delighted with Pyledriver’s preparation for this month’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot.

Muir, who trains the four-year-old alongside Chris Grassick, reports the stable star to have done everything right since winning his epic battle with Al Aasy in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

Pyledriver dug deep at Epsom last month to get the verdict by a neck and win his first Group One race.

“He’s in really good shape. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him,” said his Lambourn trainer.

“He’s never missed a beat – so a fortnight Saturday he goes to Ascot for the King George.”

Sat TV Trends: 25th July 2020

It’s King George Day at Ascot Racecourse this Saturday as some of the best middle-distance horses in the world line-up for this lucrative Group One. We’ve four LIVE ITV races to take in at the Berkshire track, while there’s also four races at York Racecourse that are headlined by the Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes.

As always, here at we’ve got all the key trends for LIVE ITV Races this Saturday (25th July 2020) – use these stats to find the best profiles of past winners and narrow down the runners.


Ascot Horse Racing Trends


1.50 – Betfred TV Pat Eddery Stakes (Listed Race) (Formerly The Winkfield Stakes) Cl1 (2yo) 7f ITV

10/10 – Drawn in stall 6 or lower
10/10 – Had run in the last 7 weeks
8/10 – Drawn in stalls 2, 3 or 4
8/10 – Returned 9/2 or shorter in the betting
8/10 – Won just once before
8/10 – Had no more than 2 previous runs
8/10 – Irish bred
7/10 – Won last time out
7/10 – Had run in the last 5 weeks
6/10 – Had won over 7f before
6/10 – Placed favourites
4/10 – Winning favourirtes
2/10 – Won by the Hannon yard
2/10 – Won by the Mark Johnston yard
0/10 – Winners from stall 1
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 4/1


2.25 - Moet & Chandon International Stakes (Heritage Handicap) Cl2 (3yo+) 7f ITV

17/17 – Ran within the last 5 weeks
17/17 – Had raced at Ascot previously
15/17 – Won by a horse aged 5 or younger
14/17 – Won over 7f previously
13/17 – Favourites unplaced
13/17 – Carried 8-9 or more in weight
12/17 – Won between 2-4 times previously
11/17 – Returned a double-figure price in the market
11/17 – Winners that came from outside the top three in the market
11/17 – Winning distance – 3/4 length or less
10/17 – Aged 4 years-old
7/17 – Raced at Newmarket last time out
5/17 – Won their last race
5/17 – Raced at Ascot last time out
3/17 – Trained by Mark Johnston
2/17 – Trained by Clive Cox
2/17 – Ridden by Jimmy Quinn
1/17 – Winning favourites
Trainer Richard Fahey has won the race three times in the last 10 years
11 of the last 13 winners ran at either Ascot, Newmarket or Haydock last time out
10 of the last 13 winners came from a double-figure stall
9 of the last 13 winners finished in the top 5 last time out
Raising Sand (7/1) won the race in 2019

Note: The 2005 running was staged at Newbury


3:00 – Betfred ‘Nifty Fifthy’ Handicap Cl2 (3yo 0-105) 1m ITV

8/9 – Carried 8-8 or more
6/9 – Winners between stalls 9-15
5/9 – Had won just once before
5/9 – Unplaced favourites
4/9 – Raced at Ascot last time out
4/9 – Irish bred
3/9 – Returned 10/1 or bigger in the betting
3/9 – Won last time out
3/9 – Winning favourite
2/9 – Ridden by William Buick
Flashcard (3/1 fav) won the race 12 months ago
Trainer Andrew Balding won the race in 2019
Trainer Clive Cox won this race in 2018
Trainer Sir Michael Stoute won the race in 2016
Trainer William Haggas won the race in 2014
Trainer Hughie Morrison won the race in 2012



3:35 - King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes (Group 1) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m4f ITV


18/18 – Previous Group 1 or 2 winners
16/18 – Aged 3 or 4 years-old
16/18 – Had 2 or more runs already that season
16/18 – Had won over 1m4f before
15/18 – Returned 6/1 or shorter in the betting
15/18 – Placed last time out
14/18 – Previous Group 1 winner
12/18 – aged 4 years-old
11/18 – Had run Ascot before
11/18 – Won their previous race
9/18 – Favourites that won
8/18 – Ran at Royal Ascot last time out
7/18 – Won at Ascot before
4/18 – Trained by John Gosden
4/18 – Trained by Sir Michael Stoute
3/18 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien
Frankie Dettori has ridden the winner in 1995, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2017 and 2019
2 of the last 6 winners were that season’s Epsom Oaks winner
Galileo (2001) was the last horse to do the Derby/King George double
Trainer John Gosden won the race in 2011, 2014, 2017 and 2019
Trainer Sir Michael Stoute won the race in 1981, 1983, 2002, 2009, 2010 & 2018
Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor won the race in 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999 & 2004
Trainer Aidan O’Brien won the race in 2001, 2007, 2008 & 2016
The average winning SP in the last 18 runnings is 10/3



4:10 – Handicap Cl3 (3yo+ 0-90) 1m4f ITV

Only three past runs
3/3 – Carried 9-1 or more in weight
3/3 – Ran in the last 5 weeks
3/3 – Placed favourites
3/3 – Won over at least 1m3f in the past
3/3 – Aged between 3-5 years-old
2/3 – Had run at Ascot in the past
2/3 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
1/3 – Winning favourites
2/3 – Drawn in stall 8
Western Duke won this race 12 months ago
Trainers  Ian Williams, Mick Channon and Charlie Appleby have won the race before


York Horse Racing Trends


2:05 – Skybet Britain’s Most Popular Online Bookmaker EBF Stallions Fillies' Handicap Cl3 (3yo+ 0-90) 1m2½f ITV

10/10 – Returned 10/1 or shorter in the betting
10/10 – Aged between 3-5 years-old
9/10 – Finished in the top 6 last time out
9/10 – Ran in the last 6 weeks
8/10 – Drawn in stall 5 or lower
8/10 – Carried between 8-12 and 9-5
7/10 – Placed favourites
7/10 – Rated between 81 and 88
7/10 – Won over 1m2f or further
7/10 – Won just 1 or 2 races before
5/10  - Winning favourites
4/10 – Won last time out
2/10 – Trained by Tim Easterby
2/10 – Ridden by David Allen
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 5/1


2:40 - Sky Bet York Stakes (Group 2) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m2½f ITV

13/14 – Aged 6 or younger
13/14 – Favourites that finished in the top 3
12/14 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
11/14 – Had won over 1m2f before
11/14 – Finished in the top 3 last time out
11/14 – Had won at least 4 times before
9/14 – Rated between 111 and 117
8/14 – Horses from stall one that finished in the top two
8/14 – Had run at York before
7/14 – Ran at Sandown last time out
6/14 – Winning favourites
3/14 – Aged 6 years-old
2/14 – Trained by Saeed Bin Suroor
Elarqam (7/1) won the race 12 months ago



3:15 – Sky Bet Club Handicap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 1m ITV

8/8 – Aged between 3-6 years-old
8/8 – Returned 17/2 or shorter in the betting
8/8 – Ran in the last 4 weeks
7/8 – Placed in the top 4 last time out
7/8 – Had run at York before
6/8 – Won over at least 1m before
6/8 – Irish bred
6/8 – Winners from stalls 3-6
6/8 – Rated between 81 and 91
6/8 – Won between 1-2 times in the past
4/8 – Ridden by Danny Tudhope
4/8 – Aged 4 years-old
4/8 – Trained by David O’Meara
2/8 – Winning favourites
0/8 – Winners from stall 1


3:50 – Sky Bet Most Extra Place Races Handicap Cl4 (4yo+) 6f ITV

No past runnings
Trainer Richard Fahey is only 12 from 237 (5%) with this 4+ year-olds at the track
Trainer Nigel Tinkler is only 2 from 51 (4%) with this 4+ year-olds at the track
Trainer Michael Appleby is only 2 from 6 (3%) with this 4+ year-olds at the track